Then & Now … Reid Sharp ‘78
Bastrop in 1978 was a place and a time when everyone knew one another. With just over 3,000 residents, it was a bit easier to do than now. The growth of the town, and all of its changes, however, haven’t stopped one man from getting to know every face that comes through the door. As the president of First National Bank of Bastrop, Reid Sharp lives up to the bank’s motto, “Deeply rooted in our community”. As a hometown boy and the only son of Claude and Effie, Reid’s whole life--family, memories, friends, pride--is all about Bastrop. It is here that Sharp says he learned about life and what he needed to succeed.
From kindergarten until he graduated from high school in 1978, Sharp walked the halls of Bastrop schools. In all that time, he says he never had a bad teacher. In fact, sitting in his corner office, he reflects and says his teachers gave him the best education possible, especially in preparing him for the real world. He credits his American history teacher Mary McMurrey for teaching him about self-respect.
“No one promised you fairness. It’s not in the Constitution. It’s not in the Bill of Rights,” Reid recalls Mrs. McMurrey saying. “Today you hear so many people say that things aren’t fair, but you have to play the card you’re dealt and be the best you can be no matter what.” McMurrey’s imprint stuck with him and shaped his outlook on life. He worked harder in school and was more involved in activities.
(Pic of classmate Jackie Roberson and Reid voted "Best All Around").
Sharp’s attitude and heart resonated with his fellow classmates too. Of 130 students, he was voted “Best All Around”, “Most Dependable”, “Senior Favorite”, and “Mr. BHS”. If that weren’t enough, he also found time to be a top student in the Class of ‘78. His accolades were numerous, yet in the summer before heading off to Texas A&M University, Sharp realized he needed a job. It was on the corner of Spring Street and Main in downtown Bastrop where destiny guided the young man also voted “Most Likely To Succeed”.
One fateful day, Cecil Long, then president of First National Bank, asked Reid if he wanted a summer job. Sharp eagerly said yes and began to learn as much as he could about the banking industry. Every summer after that, he returned from Aggieland to work at the bank. Graduation came in 1982, after which he started his career full time as a Loan Officer. He later married and raised a family, building the kind of life he had always wanted, just like his parents had done so long ago.
Sharp remembers those early days fondly and says he built a nice portfolio putting a lot of his classmates into their first homes. “People like to do business with someone they know and trust. Because I treated people fairly in school and in life, they chose to do business with me. I’ve always been grateful for that.” Soon, he was promoted to Chief Lending Officer, and in 1994 he became the bank’s president. At 33 years old, he was the youngest bank president in the State of Texas.
Twenty-three years later, Sharp is still president of the bank and enjoys living and working in the city that molded him into the man he is today. He’s humble and clear about his roots and works diligently to give back to the schools that gave so much to him. He makes sure that the bank supports the schools and the students. His employees are involved in We Believe in BISD, in mentoring, and in volunteering to teach children about financial literacy. Sharp understands that you get what you give.
(Becky Saucedo and Reid earned "Most Dependable")
“I didn’t see my first hundred dollar bill until I was 18,” remarked Reid. Reality is different for kids today, which is one reason he continues to stress the importance of an education and staying in school just the way his teachers did for him so many years ago. “You hear so much in this world about setting goals and making money. I would say to BISD students, you want to be realistic and you have to have patience. You have to have an education to succeed.”
Sharp adds that no matter their economic background or the family culture they come from, students at Bastrop ISD are blessed to have dedicated teachers and school resources to help them learn, stressing there is no amount of money that will replace the value of a good education. “That’s why it’s important to pay attention in school, and when presented with opportunities, run with them. But if your head is always in your smartphone, you may miss them,” he says. How different life might be had Sharp not been ready and willing to take advantage of the opportunity Mr. Long offered him on the street that summer day in downtown Bastrop.
Life now includes his wife of nearly 30 years, Cindy, and their three grown children and numerous grandchildren, whom they enjoy. He hopes that he has instilled in them some of what he has learned along the way. When looking back on his life and career, Sharp showers the credit on others. Family taught him about love. Friends taught him about loyalty. The teachers of Bastrop ISD taught him education is more than learning from a book. It’s about relating to people and building character.
“Follow the golden rule. Be there for people. If you take care of people, they’ll take care of you. That’s how I measure success.”
Wise words. Reid Sharp may have a little less hair these days, but his winning smile and love for people are the same today as they were so many years ago when he walked the halls as a Bastrop Bear. Lucky us.
Bridget (Goertz) Wolf and Reid having a little fun
BISD News ~ Department of Communications & Community Services
Bastrop Independent School District, 906 Farm Street, Bastrop, TX 78602 ~ 512-772-7100